Weight Management

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Breast cancer awareness monthWhile breast cancer information has been widely disseminated this month, I thought I’d focus today’s nutrition bite on the role of diet and the disease.

We know advancing age and family history are among the uncontrollable factors; we also know when it comes to diet, there is not a single food that promotes or prevents cancer, BUT, overall nutrition habits can change your risk. There are two biggies.

The first is alcohol. Alcohol is correlated to breast cancer; the more a woman drinks, the greater the risk.

You might have already guessed excess body fat is the other major factor.

Early menarche, the onset of the menstrual cycle in girls, is related to too little exercise and too much body fat. That early start to a period will end up with a later than typical menopause. The result is that the body is exposed to hormones for a longer time, somewhat increasing the risk of breast cancer.

The CDC states being overweight or obese after menopause increases your risk of breast cancer. Too little exercise is listed as a separate risk factor and is often seen along with excess body weight and fat.

We talk about managing weight often here but usually in regard to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension, stroke and certain cancers, but we need to recognize the specific role it plays in breast cancer. Excess body fat is not a cosmetic problem but a complicated health issue.

If weight loss seems unrealistic for you, perhaps weight maintenance is where you need to begin. If exercise isn’t in the cards, being more active in daily life could help. But, if you’re thinking, I’d like to start on those 5 pounds, begin today recording what you eat. It’s one of the most difficult but most beneficial weight reduction tools we have.

Take care of your weight to be well,





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Chewing the fat

Jordan Spieth, #1 golfer in the world and last week’s Open Champion in England, had an awful lot written about his gum chewing during this most recent tournament. Perhaps the commentators had too much time on their hands. But really?

They speculated it helped him concentrate.  Perhaps if the gum contained caffeine…but I suspect it released some nervous energy.

Chewing gum is occasionally discussed along with weight management. Can it burn off fat? A 2009 U of Rhode Island short term study suggested it is helpful and postulated part of the benefit was the actual motion of chewing. Wrigley supported that study.

LSU study participants suggested gum chewing stopped snack cravings.

But here’s what I think. Gum chewing can be a health habit stacker. When you finish a meal, pop in a piece of (sugarless) gum. That indicates you’re done eating. So, you’re not eating leftovers when putting them away. You’re not taking those last fries from your child’s plate. You’re not thinking about eating dessert when you’re not even hungry.

It’s a signal, you’re done.

Brushing your teeth after eating is another health habit stacker that’s a bit more challenging to institute.

If mindless snacking or continuing to eat even after you’re satisfied sounds like you, try a stick of gum to be well,


PS A few downsides to excessive gum chewing: swallowing air, consuming too much sorbitol (or other sugar alcohol). A few sticks daily SHOULD be fine.


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